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Best Venue For Local Acts Phoenix 2001 - Lucky Dragon Restaurant

When the restaurant/art space Lucky Dragon closed up its ancient, Burgundy-soaked digs on University Drive, those of us whose aesthetic tastes run to the outré were saddened beyond the telling. But the LD's new incarnation on McClintock, while cleaner and better lit, has delivered on its promise to keep down-and-dirty local arts alive in the Valley. And it still makes a blazing kung pao chicken.

Apart from its more refined menu, the second incarnation sports intimate booths and spiffy cloth-draped tables aplenty -- easily three times the previous seating -- and a generous complement of funky hangings by amazing local artists. But the real draw is its showcase for area bands, from release parties to farewell shows, on the sizable stage. It won't be long before the Dragon enters Valley music history as a place to see and be seen.

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